Journalist decries federal government's climate inaction as heatwaves shatter records
Europe is experiencing a major heatwave with more than 1000 deaths reported throughout Spain, Portugal and England. According to AccuWeather, Europe is expected to see afternoon record-shattering temperatures in excess of 100F on Tuesday, July 19. The Galicia region of Northwestern Spain, for example, is suffering devastating wildfires.
Extreme weather events serve as reminders of the imminent threat that climate change poses. In an opinion column published by the New York Times on July 18, journalist David Leonhardt explains that the U.S. government needs to be addressing more the crisis much more aggressively.
“In France, Greece, Spain and other parts of Europe,” Leonhardt observes, “the same heat wave has sparked dozens of wildfires. In the U.S., parts of the Southwest and the Central Plains are bracing for temperatures that could reach 110 degrees this week. Already, the city of Tulsa has experienced more days above 100 degrees this summer than it historically has in an entire summer on average.”
Leonhardt continues, “Yet in the face of these mounting signs and costs of climate change, the U.S. federal government is choosing not to address the problem. Last week, President Biden’s package of policies to reduce (climate-warming) pollution collapsed, after Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia withdrew his support.”
To make matters worse, Leonhardt notes, the U.S. Supreme Court recently “restricted the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to reduce pollution at power plants.”
The federal government, Leonhardt laments, is “seeming to withdraw from the fight.” But Leonhardt points out that some individual states have taken steps to combat climate change, including California. And he is hoping that others will follow their example.
“California is on the verge of requiring that all new cars sold there be electric or zero-emission by 2035,” Leonhardt writes. “Colorado and New York have sharply cut their electricity emissions in recent years. About 20 other states have also taken aggressive steps to slow global warming, as have some local governments and companies.”
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